Cliftonville needed penalties to overcome the challenge of Banbridge Town in the annual Bob Larmour Memorial Cup meeting at Crystal Park yesterday.
The match — in honour of the eponymous stalwart who served both clubs during his lifetime — burst into life 10 minutes from the end when Dale Malone stroked the ball home from the penalty spot to give Banbridge the lead and a step towards lifting the trophy for the very first time.
Liam Boyce levelled moments later, though, and the teams — who had each already seen penalties saved during the course of the 90 minutes — went to spot-kicks, with George McMullan scoring the decisive kick to ensure a 4-3 victory for the Reds.
Linfield had no such concerns against Ballywalter Rec, however, where they clocked up a commanding 8-0 success. Kris Lindsay, Damien Curran, Mark McAllister (2) and Andy McCrory were on target, while Philip Lowry helped himself to a hat-trick.
The Linfield midfielder’s brother Stephen, meanwhile, was on target for Coleraine in their 6-1 success against Ards. Paul Brown opened the scoring and James Wilson scored an own goal before Stephen Dooley, Gareth Harkin and Lowry put the Bannsiders 5-0 ahead. Darren Fitzgerald netted from the penalty spot but Darren Boyce made it 6-1.
Glenavon enjoyed a 2-1 victory at Loughgall and Lisburn Distillery came from behind to defeat Bangor 3-1 at Clandeboye Park, while Paul McVeigh recorded his third hat-trick in as many outings in Donegal Celtic’s 6-2 triumph over Ballynahinch United.
A fine strike from Marty Donnelly earned Crusaders a 1-0 win over Limavady United in a low-key affair at Seaview, while Ballymena fell to a 2-0 loss at home to Scottish Premier League outfit St Mirren.
Pick up your two FREE Irish League magazines inside this week's Sunday Life.